Peter’s interests lie in studying the human innate immune system with a view to developing novel therapeutics for infections. He is particularly interested in studying the activities of Cationic Host Defence Peptides (HDP), principally in the context of viral respiratory infections, such as influenza and rhinovirus.
Cationic Host Defence Peptides, also known as antimicrobial peptides, are key components of the immune response. These peptides have been shown to display a broad spectrum of antimicrobial and immunomodulatory activities and, as such, are exciting targets for novel therapeutics.
This work is complemented by Peter’s collaborative work with Dr Craig Stevens, looking at novel peptide based therapeutics for the treatment of Crohn’s Disease and Inflammatory Bowel Disease. The role of autophagy, dysregulated cell death and the involvement of the cytoskeleton in the host cell response to infection in these inflammatory conditions has yet to be fully elucidated.
Peter also has a long-standing interest in the impact of particulate air pollution on the immune system. Environmental pollutants such as nanoparticles have been demonstrated to have dramatic pro-inflammatory effects in humans, but the impact of these materials on innate immune responses has yet to be determined.
The concepts of Peter’s work can be expanded to broadly include many different types of inflammatory and infectious conditions, but are unified by the common interest in the multiple roles of cationic host defence peptides in the immune response.
Current Research Projects
1. The role of HDP in host defence during influenza and rhinovirus infection
2. The role of autophagy in Crohn’s Disease
3. The immunomodulatory roles of HDP in Crohns Disease
4. Anti-chlamydial potential of HDP